The U.S. dollar weakened against its major counterparts on Friday amid bets the Federal Reserve will likely cut interest rate in June after data showed a slowdown in manufacturing activity in the U.S., and a drop in consumer sentiment.
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Canadian stocks turned in a fine performance on Friday with investors indulging in some hectic buying at several counters from across various sectors.
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A report released by the Commerce Department on Friday unexpectedly showed a modest decrease in U.S. construction spending in the month of January. The Commerce Department said construction spending slipped by 0.2 percent to an annual rate of $2.102 trillion in January after jumping by 1.1 percent to a revised rate of $2.106 trillion in December.
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Consumer sentiment in the U.S. unexpectedly deteriorated in the month of February, according to revised data released by the University of Michigan on Friday. The University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index for February was downwardly revised to 76.9 from the previously reported 79.6. Economists had expected the reading to be unrevised.
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Swiss stocks turned in a fairly steady performance on Friday on upbeat retail sales data, and amid optimism the Federal Reserve will announce an interest-rate cut in June.
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The Federal Reserve released its semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress on Friday, noting that inflation has eased substantially over the past year but remains above the central bank's 2 percent objective.
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European stocks closed broadly higher on Friday as data showed eurozone inflation fell in February, albeit less than expected. Optimism about the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank cutting their interest rates in June helped underpin sentiment.
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The U.S. dollar weakened against its major counterparts in the New York session on Friday, as weak manufacturing and consumer confidence data for February increased the possibility of a rate cut in June.
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Bank of England Chief Economist Huw Pill said on Friday that an interest rate cut from the U.K. central bank was not imminent. "...in my baseline scenario the time for cutting Bank Rate remains some way off," Pill said in a speech in Cardiff.
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Service sector activity in the middle of the U.S. saw a notable turnaround in the month of February, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City on Friday.
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Manufacturing activity in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted at an accelerated rate in the month of February, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Friday. The ISM said its manufacturing PMI dipped to 47.8 in February from 49.1 in January, with a reading below 50 indicating contraction. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 49.5.
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Consumer sentiment in the U.S. unexpectedly deteriorated in the month of February, according to revised data released by the University of Michigan on Friday.
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At 10 am ET Friday, ISM manufacturing PMI, U.S. construction spending and University of Michigan's final consumer sentiment index have been released. After the data, the greenback pulled back against its major counterparts.
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